There are things that I dislike about Windows Vista, but also quite a few things that I like. Unfortunately, for the past couple of months I've been having what I consider a "deal-breaker" problem with Vista on my main Dell Latitude D820 laptop.

A few weeks ago, it started happening: I'd be working normally on vista doing the normal stuff: Outlook, maybe word or excel, firefox, maybe a virtual machine opened (usually in a paused state). I'd try to do something simple, like, say, scan a document using Windows Fax and Scan when, suddenly, the machine would become unresponsive and start hitting the hard drive very hard (like really heavy paging going on, though I have 2GB of memory). When this happens, the entire machine simply stopped responding: No cursor movement, no Alt-Tab, no Task Manager; heck, not even the clock on the taskbar would get updated!

Usually, this would happen around once a week and last between 5 and 20 minutes, after which the machine would start going back to normal and become responsive again. Pretty bad, but I could live with it.

After it happened a few times, I started looking at what could be causing the issue; but it was very hard to do since there was no way I could monitor what was going on when the problem hit (since it was unresponsive, no way to investigate). However, the last couple of times it happened I was able to see that the Windows Search processes would be active and using quite a bit of processor and IO when the problem was winding down and I was able to use the machine again.

So about two weeks ago, I disabled all WIndows Search related services (at least I think I got them all). Windows Search never worked well for me (i.e. even with indexing, searches still seem to return partial results and take a long time to complete), so it's not like I was going to miss it much. After this, the problem seemed to go away, and I was pretty happy...

.... until today. It happened again, only this time my machine was completely bogged down by all the disk activity for AN ENTIRE HOUR, and it still wouldn't stop. I had to resort to yanking the power off the machine and reboot, something I really didn't want to do as I had several things opened when it happened.

Getting locked out of my machine for 20 minutes every once in a while is one things, but I can't really justify keeping Vista on my machine if I'm going to loose an entire fucking hour with this shit going on and no idea what's causing it. So if this happens again, it's strike three and I'll just have to go back to XP. This is a deal-breaker.

If anyone has any ideas as to what might be causing the issue; sure would appreciate them...

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Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia.